Author Brianna Weist recently wrote, “True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.”
Self-care CAN be salt baths and chocolate cake, but it is not just the now oft-touted reason for indulging yourself. True self-care involves some components that are not necessarily hedonistic.
Healing Ways: An Integrative Health Sourcebook reminds readers that despite all the latest and greatest fads, “many long-term studies by respected groups around the world, including the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the American Heart Association, have shown that certain core behaviors are associated with longer, healthier living”:
Avoiding or quitting tobacco use.
Getting regular exercise.
Eating a healthy diet.
Maintaining a normal body mass index
Always wearing your seat belt
Taking advantage of available preventive care
and Following the recommended immunization schedule for your age group
But what about treating yourself? A recent study published in the journal Emotion found that both being kind to others and being kind to yourself increased happiness. While doing moral deeds and thinking moral thoughts help people feel more purposeful in life, taking time for being kind to yourself, like the aforementioned salt bath and chocolate cake, may prevent the exhaustion that sometimes results from focusing only on the needs of others.
Self Care and prevention. (2016). In M. Parente, Healing ways: an integrative health sourcebook. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Series.
Waytz, A., & Hofmann, W. (2019). Nudging the better angels of our nature: A field experiment on morality and well-being. Emotion.